It’s been about 17 years now since John and I spent time together in the old Weber County Jail. He was shackled and handcuffed as he sat across from me in the interview room. The guard brought him up from the “hole.” Because of his dangerousness the same guard stood outside the opened door of the interview room not leaving our sight. I spent hours with John, talking about his life growing up, the murder, etc. etc.
Since John, I’ve met plenty more murderers.
But NO BEHAVIOR has impressed me as being as EVIL as John’s.
DOES GOD LOVE JOHN?
Now think before you answer that question.
Certainly God, I and any other descent human would despise John’s behavior. But we’re not talking about “John’s behavior” – were talking about “John.” —-
Does the God
… who knows about each sparrow falling and the numbers of hairs on your head; (Matthew 10:29-31)
… who teaches the importance of “one” sheep and one “coin”; (Luke 15:4, 8)
… who seeks out the sinner, the sick and the afflicted; (Mark 2:17; Mark 2:16)
… who prophets have testified He loves us; (1 Nephi 11:17)
… who IS LOVE. (John 4:8)
care about and love John?
Did “John” cross the line and sin enough to make God stop loving him?
DOES YOUR “LOVE” HAVE LIMITS?
Let’s take this thought one step further. What are the limits of your love? What behavior of another would push you away; cause thoughts of disgust and disappointment; prevent you from shaking their hand or giving them a hug ….
How about: -cigarettes? -porn? -tattoos? -alcohol? -body piercings? -same-gender attraction? etc
GOD’S BLESSINGS are conditional upon our behavior
God’s blessings AND rewards are based on our “WORTHINESS” and how well we keep His commandments. Worthiness differs for each of us. If unforgiven, “John” most certainly will receive the consequences for his evil behavior- perhaps a “millstone.” (Luke 17:2) (Any good parent realizes at times the need to both administer consequences AND love deeply their children.)
The blessing of FEELING God’s love can also be conditional.
This does not mean that God loves us less when we stray, only that we, by our choices and actions, have distanced ourselves from God and His love. The further we stray from the path of righteousness, the less it seems we can feel God’s love.
This is most obvious in lives of LDS Porn Addicts.
SOME SINNERS OFTEN FEEL BEYOND GOD’S LOVE
For example, I’ve noticed how much more a “LDS porn addict” detests, dislikes, and despises themselves as well as their sexual habit than other sinners. It appears the more “LDS” they have been the more they hate themselves and the more distant and unloved they feel. (A perfect scenario for a successful kill. See: The Lion Sleeps Tonight, NOT!)
Paradoxically, when we are most in need of feeling God’s love, in our minds we deserve it least. Sinners tend to think they have offended our Father in heaven to such a degree that they are unworthy of his love and don’t deserve it.
Do you get it? There is at least one thing about each of us that will never change…
“Behold, I say unto you, is not a soul at this time as precious unto God as a soul will be at the time of his coming?” (Alma 39:17)
At NO TIME can God love you less than “perfect”. It’s impossible.
You cannot sin enough to make God stop loving you.
GOD’S LOVE FOR US TRANSCENDS OUR TRANSGRESSIONS
God’s Love is based on our “WORTH” as a child of God. “Worth” cannot be earned- we brought it with us from the pre-existence as we did His love for us.
God does not love us because we are lovable, cute, have a pleasant personality, or because we go to Church. In spite of our church calling or the nature of our sin we can always count on God wanting to pour out his love on you and I.
Wherever we are on life’s journey, God’s love can find us, come to us there, reach us, and take hold of any and all situations and conditions, and carry us forward, getting us where we are supposed to go.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God,….” (Romans 8:35-39)
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO FEEL GOD’S LOVE?
Feeling the power of God’s Love is the most important reason for avoiding evil and pursuing righteousness AND the only way to be truly happy. Remember in Lehi’s vision the significance of “partaking” of the “Tree of life” and experiencing “The Love of God.” (1 Nephi 11:21–22). Check out the consequences of “tasting” the “Love of God“: Mosiah 4:11,12; 1 John 3: 16,17; and 1 John 4:9,)
BACK TO GOD’S LOVE FOR “JOHN”
Regardless of John’s despicable behavior he can not move outside of God’s Love. (NOR can he move outside the Law of Justice.)
God loves John.
How rewarding it is to know that God believed that- A sinner is greater than all his sins. Is it any wonder Jesus was referred to as the “Good Shepherd”? He loved all of His sheep whether they were strays, hungry, helpless, cold, lost, etc etc.
You are 100% loved by God.
“God will never stop loving ALL of His spirit children,” (Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book, Pg 138)
What impressions do you have about increasing your ability to feel God’s Love for you?
“…Think of the purest, most all-consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount—that is the measure of God’s love for you.”(October 2009, The Love of God, Dieter F. Uchtdorf)
Follow those impressions.
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